By Kurt Badenhausen, Forbes:
The Iron Bowl has been called the best rivalry in college football. Michigan-Ohio State and Navy-Army have their supporters as the top game, but it is very hard to argue with Alabama-Auburn in recent years. The winner of the past five games between the in-state rivals has gone on to play in the BCS title game and four times has emerged as national champion. The two squads are loaded once again and rank in the top six of the AP preseason poll. They will be competing for a spot in the first ever College Football Playoff, and the Nov. 29 showdown could be a play-in game with the loser missing out on the four-team playoff.
By Ed Bailey, alexcityoutlook.com:
The SEC Network debuted in all of its glory last week. It is a beautiful amalgam of all of the pageantry, rivalry, nastiness and semi-amateurism that is the Southeastern Conference. The only thing that felt just a little out of place during one of the first few SECN shows (the one which featured all types of big moments and traditions from the member schools) was the inclusion of Missouri and Texas A&M.vI was reminded quickly that these two institutions haven’t been a part of the SEC very long. For instance, I am not sure the SEC should use commentary from former Aggie linebacker Dat Nguyen when he didn’t actually play in the SEC.
By Michael Casagrande, al.com:
For the final time before game week arrives, Nick Saban will chat with reporters following Thursday’s practice. He was in a good mood after taking an ice bath after Tuesday’s practice. Stay tuned for the latest once he arrives sometime after 5:45 or so. Refresh the page for the latest once he begins. Saban says he’s seeing some more continuity at this point on the team. Players are getting tired of hitting each other at this point in the month. No new injuries.
By Duane Rankin, Montgomery Advertiser:
ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit expects Alabama coach Nick Saban to play senior Blake Sims and Florida State transfer Jacob Coker in the Aug. 30 season opener against West Virginia at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. “You almost have to,” said Herbstreit on an ESPN conference call Tuesday. “We don’t have preseason football, exhibition games like we do in the NFL. I’m not slighting West Virginia or anything, but it’s a non-conference game and I think not just West Virginia, but Florida Atlantic and Southern Miss are all games that they’re going to have to try to find out who they like. The only way you find that out really is to get them out there in front of 100,000 people on national TV. That’s it.”
Amari Cooper isn’t ready to declare his Alabama career a success just yet. The second-ranked Crimson Tide star is one of the nation’s top wide receivers and a highly regarded NFL prospect, but he’s also coming off a season when nagging injuries, frequent double teams and inconsistency contributed to a rough start. So motivation isn’t a problem. “I don’t know if I’ve had a lot of success,” Cooper said. “I don’t look at it like I’ve had a lot of success. I’m always anxious to do more. Break records.” Teammates and coaches have praised his focus and work ethic leading up to the Aug. 30 opener against West Virginia in Atlanta, and Cooper was the leading vote getter on the media’s preseason All-Southeastern Conference team.
By Ken Rogers, Dothan Eagle:
Alabama’s training camp hasn’t been ideal for building continuity at several positions, but it certainly has been good for identifying quality depth. Linebacker Trey DePriest has been limited inside with a knee injury. Cornerback Eddie Williams is recovering from ACL surgery but is still not 100 percent. Defensive lineman A’Shawn Robinson (sprained knee) has been out with an injury for the past week, and fellow linemen Jarran Reed and Brandon Ivory missed significant time due to suspension. Offensively, senior tight end Brian Vogler (sprained ankle) missed last Saturday’s scrimmage along with linemen Dominick Jackson (knee) and Leon Brown (foot).
By Tyler Donohue, Bleacher Report:
The script flipped for Alabama this past weekend, as a pair of SEC opponents plucked two prized prospects from the Crimson Tide’s clutches. Well on his way to an unprecedented fifth straight No. 1 recruiting class, head coach Nick Saban certainly won’t wallow in despair about the duo’s sudden departure. Supporters of the team in Tuscaloosa and beyond should adopt a similar attitude after experiencing a slight—and rare—step backward on the recruiting trail. Keep calm and roll on. Did Alabama lose a versatile 2015 defensive end when Jonathan Ledbetter pledged his allegiance to Georgia? Sure.
By Michael Casagrande, al.com:
This was the first day of school, but it’s still summer in Tuscaloosa. Very summer. After wrapping up their first day in the classroom, Alabama football players hit the field with 95 degree temperatures and no clouds to block the rays. There’s some news, so let’s just get right to it. For the first time this preseason, linebacker Tim Williams was on the field. Nick Saban had said he was suspended on the first day of practice and nothing changed until Wednesday. Williams wore full pads with the outside linebackers since they don’t need the five-day acclimation period required during camp. The suspensions announced Aug. 1 included defensive linemen Jarran Reed and Brandon Ivory, but they returned a week later.
From The Capstone Report:
Last Saturday the Tide scrimmaged for the 2nd and final time before the August 30th opener with West Virginia, and the million dollar question was how the quarterbacks fared. Everyone wants to know stats. Everyone wants to hear numbers that will make them breathe easier heading into the post-AJ McCarron era. Unfortunately, Nick Saban knows something we don’t. Unlike almost everyone reading this post, Bama’s 4-time National Champion head coach, the longest tenured head man in T-Town since Paul W. Bryant, isn’t ready to divulge that information. “Both guys played an equal number reps with the ones today,” Saban said. “Both guys had their moments doing good things. I also saw inconsistencies with those guys.”